HomeAsian AmericansProminent Leader of Cambodian and Buddhist Communities Dies at 81

Prominent Leader of Cambodian and Buddhist Communities Dies at 81


Dr. Sovan Tun, a prominent civic leader in the Asian, Cambodian and Buddhist communities of the greater Washington D.C. area passed away on Saturday, October 9, according to a press release. He was 81.

Dr. Tun was born October 5, 1940, in Anlong Tradak in the Cambodian province of Battambang. He was a fantastic student who earned a scholarship from the U.S. government to continue his studies.

After completing his bachelor’s degree, he returned to Cambodia in 1966 to work for the Ministry of Agriculture. He served as the Director of planning, looking after the Ministry’s budget, foreign aid, and agricultural imports/exports. He also taught while he worked.

By 1971, he had also earned a French law degree. A year later, the United Nations offered him a fellowship to continue his graduate studies in the US as the war in Cambodia escalated.

Dr. Tun enjoyed a lengthy career as a diplomat and civil servant but he also spent much of his life advocating for the Asian communities in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

Photo Courtesy of Sovan Tun

In the 1980s, while living in Silver Springs, Maryland, Dr. Tun began helping Cambodians to emigrate to the United States in the aftermath of the war.

Dr. Tun also worked hard to promote and protect Buddhists in American and throughout the world. He served on the Board of Directors of Global Peace Services (GPS) USA, as well as the board of directors for the Interfaith Council (IFC) of Metropolitan Washington. In 2015, he attended a first‐of‐its‐kind religious summit at the Vatican, hosted by Pope Francis.

Dr. Tun is survived by his wife, Mrs. Yok‐Bean Ngor; and three children:
daughter Sophally Tun, and sons Larry Tun and Dr. Sovanrith Tun; sisters Neary Tun, Yun Tun, and Sokon Tun; and four grandchildren: Sabina McCormick, Calix McCormick, Jason Tun, and Justin Tun.

Services will be held from October 14 to October 16. Information about the various services can be found here.

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